Suit Of Wands
The Suit of Wands (here drawn as sticks, pencils, arrows, paint brushes, etc.) are associated with fire and deal with passion, desire, creativity, activism, and ideas. If wands were personified, they would be the muse: potential, ideas, and moments of epiphany that fire up creativity within. The Suit of Wands is also the suit of the spirit, primal energy, and our core selves. Wands are often trying to tell us about our personalities, our driving forces, and what is best for us at the center of our being. Wands are pure inspired energy, burning hot in your gut.
The Green Light
A hand that is reminiscent of the hand of God holds a wand for you, blossoming with possibility. Aces are potential beginnings. Wands are passion, fire, drive, and creativity. Wands are about the love of life. Combine these two concepts, and the Ace of Wands is raw creative energy.
The Ace of Wands is an epiphany. If any card says, “YES! GO FOR IT!” to your crazy idea, it’s this one. In the scenery, we see many examples of innovation, and the river flows freely. Human creativity has great potential, and this wand is for you. What’s driving you lately? What are you all fired up about? If you have a dream, it's time to chase it.
If you don’t feel like you have a dream right now, then be on the lookout for it. It’s likely coming your way. If not, the Ace of Wands may be asking you to delve deeper. Have you given up on dreams, or postponed them indefinitely? Dredge them up. The Ace of Wands gives you its enthusiastic blessing.
The Travel Card
A young woman sits on the hood of her car, contemplating a road map. The world is literally in her hands. She could go anywhere, but she’ll have to pick where that is first.
When the Two of Wands appears in a reading, you need to make a change—travel, start a new project, pursue an opportunity. I affectionately refer to the Two of Wands as the travel card, because it urges you to go somewhere. Are you feeling like you want to move, travel, change careers, further your education, or start a project? It’s time to get out your map and start researching.
The Ace of Wands is pure potential. Creative fire is wild and chaotic, without direction. The Two of Wands urges you to snatch a bit of that wild energy and begin sculpting it into something real. Reduced to reality, the creative flame is smaller, but it is also becomes something you can actually use. It can be terrifying to narrow limitless potential into a single choice, but how else will you start? Don’t just daydream; plan. You’re on your way.
The Three of Wands is here to tell you that you are on the right track to where you want to be. I think of this card like an intern, working hard toward the career of her dreams. She’s not exactly where she wants to be yet, but she knows she’s on the right path. She looks out at the sea of opportunity from a high vantage point, where she has a good view of upcoming challenges and possibilities.
While the Two of Wands suggests you are preparing to leave the nest, the Three comes to you when your flight is well under way. Maggie Steifvater described the Three of Wands in a way that really stuck with me: “It is not a ferocious flame that needs to be tamed; it’s a campfire that requires your attention in order to persist.” (161)
Threes are always about interaction and communication with others. At this point in your path, you will benefit from community. Take advantage of opportunities, and be prepared to keep moving. You have not reached your final destination, but you are on the right road.
A Joyful Resting Spot
This is one of the few truly warm, optimistic, and happy cards in tarot! The Four of Wands is here to remind you that you have wonderful things in your life, and you should celebrate and appreciate them. The house in the background suggests the concept of home, connecting this card to the idea of family, whatever that means to you. It is the fiery passion energy of Wands brought into a domestic setting. It is a card of holidays, of weddings, of going home to visit loved ones, of new family members, and parties.
This is card is an excellent omen if you are building a home, growing or combining families, or otherwise adjusting the state of your domestic life. If you have recently accomplished something, the Four of Wands urges you to celebrate it. Graduating? Finishing a big project? Falling in love or welcoming a baby into your family? Revel in it! Enjoy the moment. That is a downside to the Four of Wands. It depicts a beautiful moment, not a permanent state.
So enjoy your milestone! It’s okay to be happy. Everything is temporary, and right now, things are good. Don’t let this moment pass without being thoroughly appreciated.
The Pointless Conflict Card
The Five of Wands is a card of conflict. This is a fight, not a heroic battle. I chose to draw dogs fighting over sticks. What’s most important to notice about the Five of Wands is that no one is really getting hurt. There is no blood or grave injury. It’s a pointless low-stakes conflict that leaves everyone bruised.
When the Five of Wands pops up, you can expect little to go right for you. I often find myself describing a pain-in-the-ass morning of missing my bus, stubbing my toe, and being harassed by strangers as a ‘Five of Wands kind of day.’ The Five of Wands can also suggest that certain groups of people don’t work well together, or aren’t working well together right now.
The Five of Wands is here to tell us that these conflicts are not worth it, ultimately do not matter, and aren’t doing you any good. Whether this is a conflict with real stakes or a pointless slap fight, it’s annoying and it’s getting in your way. Distance yourself from it or let it go. Choose not to care so much, if you can.
Public Recognition of Victory
Congratulations, you’re a winner! The Six of Wands depicts a victory parade, complete with laurel crown and victory wreath. This card depicts public recognition of triumph or reaching a major creative milestone. Not only have you succeeded, people know it.
If it’s a Six of Wands moment for you, enjoy it! Get that external validation. You’ve worked hard to achieve whatever it is you have achieved, so let your confidence grow. If imposter syndrome is preventing you from basking in the glow, throw it right out the door. You’ve shown everyone that you deserve this victory. Let yourself believe it as well.
All this being said, pay attention to where the Six of Wands is positioned in your spread. Is it an omen of victory, or a suggestion that your goals are based on others recognizing your success? Public recognition is wonderful when you earn it, but it’s not great as a motivating desire. Even at its most pure and glorious, the Six of Wands doesn’t mean that you’re done. Take the time to revel in your many laurels, but don’t rest on them. Enjoy the moment, let it fuel your confidence, and keep going.
King of the Hill
The Seven of Wands shows someone being attacked from multiple angles. They’re outnumbered and forced to defend their position, but they’re not afraid. There’s determination in their expression. The threats will be a trial to endure, but they will not unseat them.
I affectionately think of this card like the game ‘King of the hill,’ in which one player will claim an area of high ground and defend it from a group of challengers trying to knock them off. While the Five of Wands is a raucous, unorganized free-for-all, the Seven of Wands is a coordinated attack. Everyone is ganging up on you.
The Seven of Wands urges you to hold your ground. Someone, most likely multiple someones, are trying to unseat you. Don’t let them. Your strength and perseverance will keep you on the hill so long as you believe strongly in what you are fighting for. Stay the course, but do not compromise the best things about yourself in order to win. That wouldn’t be winning at all.
Aim True and Move Fast
It’s time to go! The eight arrows (wands) of the card fly with great momentum towards their target. There’s so much energy here. The sky is clear. Everything is moving fast, all in one direction.
This is not the carefree ‘go with the flow’ energy of the Fool. There’s flow here, but it’s strong, fast, and cohesive. Circumstances may have aligned, but you are the driving force. Have you been planning a project? Working towards a goal? Babying a dream? Time to let that arrow fly.
You are past the stages of careful planning or biding your time. Don’t slow things down because you are afraid. You will only lose the momentum. You have the experience, you have the skills, and now it’s finally the moment. Don’t hesitate. This is not just a green light, it’s your foot on the accelerator.
The I’m-Still-Standing Card
Nines are about maturing and seeing things clearly. Often, ‘awareness’ means showing how suits deal with problems inherent in their nature. If you live a life of fiery Wand passion, you are likely to get beaten, tired, and bloodied more than once in your pursuit of what fuels you. In the Rider-Waite-Smith version of the Nine of Wands, a man who has clearly had the snot kicked out of him stands ready to fight another day.
I chose to draw someone hard at work, after many hours. The chewed pens—our wands—symbolize creative energy. It’s what keeps us going. As a self-employed artist, I connect to this character deeply. In working this hard, he has neglected other aspects of his life, which might include sufficient sleep, a social life, or moments of leisure.
Whatever the conflict is, keep fighting. What is important to note about the Nine of Wands is that it tells you to hold your ground through the final push, not to live like this forever. This hardship is worth bearing, but don’t make it your whole life. You are strong. You have endured, and you need to keep enduring. The end is in sight.
The figure carries a large bundle of sticks, back bent under the weight. The wands are our projects, passions, desires, accomplishments. Wands are generally good things, but they are also work. Wands can be heavy.
The Ten of Wands comes up for me a lot, which I assume is because I have a long-standing habit of taking on too much. Each new project is exciting, something I really want to do, but as they accumulate, I am crushed under the weight. It has gotten to the point where every time I tell my girlfriend about a new job or opportunity, she says, “Oh, another stick?”
If the Ten of Wands comes for you, you are at the end of a creative journey. If you are still carrying the weight of the entire journey, you might be at a breaking point. When you take on more responsibilities than you can handle, the burden must be lifted. Can you leave some sticks behind, organize them more efficiently, ask for help, or carry them in smaller batches? Can you let the project end? Don’t you want enough energy left over to start the creative cycle again?
Student of the Creative Spark
The Page of Wands is a small flame ready to catch and grow. Actually, she’s many small flames all burning side by side. Which one will find tinder? The Page of Wands is for those of us who want to do everything. My Page’s wand is a ukulele, because what other instrument better represents the joyful combination of unbridled enthusiasm, creative expression, and enjoying yourself?
If the Page of Wands is a person in your life, they are likely young. Or maybe they just act like they are young. While they are also delightful, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath for them to follow through with their ideas. They may be easily distracted and have difficulty focusing, but what is wonderful about the Page of Wands is that they welcome new opportunities with a beginner’s mindset. They are delighted to learn and grow.
If you are the Page of Wands, there’s a lot of potential in your life right now. Don’t limit yourself. Life is crackling with endless possibilities. At some point, the Page will have to narrow her path to give full attention to a smaller selection of passions, but for now at least, life offers countless open roads.
The One Who Rides Like She's on Fire
Knights are agents of action, and the Knight of Wands has the most action of all. She has the energy and commitment to make it happen. She is impulsive and enthusiastic. There is a beautiful, wild fire burning inside of her. She is in love with her ideas and the idea of pursuing them. On the other hand, the Knight of Wands may rush in without a clear plan and lose sight of the big picture. She is often not a team player, coming off as aggressive or unyielding to others.
Sometimes, what you really need to get moving is that fire-under-your-ass Wands energy. In a reading, the Knight of Wands encourages you to start your creative project with enthusiasm. The Knight also serves as a warning to temper all that momentum with a well-considered plan that takes into account possible obstacles and consequences.
The Knight of Wands needs the influence of discipline to save herself from burning out. Paired with Swords’ intellect, Cups’ emotional consideration, and Pentacles’ grounding, the Knight of Wands can provide the self-confidence needed to move you forward. There is nothing inherently wrong with gusto. Just think it through and point it in the right direction.
Our Lady of Creativity
The fire burning inside of the Queen of Wands is something she has learned to tame, nurture, and make work for her in the best of ways. She is ambitious, but not competitive. She’s making her dreams come true and she wants the same for you. The flower she holds glows with life, representing her vibrant creativity. The black cat represents her connection to her darker self. The Queen of Wands embraces darkness along with the light.
I chose to draw the Queen of Wands as a friend of mine who never ceases to amaze me. She is an incredible artist and a wonderful mother. When she writes, she digs deep. She prioritizes friendship. She embraces a joyful life and she wants the same for you. If the Queen of Wands card stands for someone in your life, then you are very lucky indeed.
The Queen of Wands encourages you to work with your own flame of inspiration. At the same time she reminds you to focus on work/life balance. Her passion is not just for projects but also for life itself—friendship, family, love, the whole shebang. Channel confidence from the Queen of Wands and embrace life with boundless courage.
Leadership Through Passion
Queens embody the ideals of their suit. Kings push those ideals outward, onto the world around them. Kings are not satisfied to live the best of their suit; they want to build something that others take part it in. In Wands, the suit of creativity, this is a natural transition. The focus of the King’s creative fire is community-minded. Their passion is most likely an organization or movement. The King’s strength lies in leadership.
I chose to draw the King of Wands as a friend and collaborator of mine, who founded and runs an inclusive and comprehensive sex education website. This person built an entire organization involving many volunteers and millions of users and has offered quality sex ed for over 20 years (and counting). They saw a way to use their passion to make the world a better place, did it, and then kept it up.
If you are the King of Wands, then it’s time to put your leadership skills to work. You may feel like you’re doing less actual creating than you used to, but remember that you’re building something bigger than yourself. You can bring people together. You can make them stronger.